Within a few centuries of the death of Siddhartha Gautama, known to followers
as the Buddha, the study and practice of Buddhism spread throughout Asia. Today
Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world. By examining developments
among Buddhist adherents soon after the Buddha's death, students can learn how
Buddhism spread and changed.
Students will go to the Introduction to Buddhism Web site to read about
the history of Buddhism. They will answer four questions about what they have
read. They will then make a list of 10 facts about Buddhism and its history
and identify three of those facts that help explain the spread of Buddhism throughout
Asia. Finally, they will write a short paragraph about these three facts and
the kinds of evidence that would support their hypothesis.
- Students will be able to describe the history and spread of Buddhism throughout
- Students will be able to analyze facts that support the spread of Buddhism
and list the evidence historians might look for that would support their hypothesis on the spread of Buddhism.
Student Web Activity Answers
- Five hundred monks met and debated the details of the Buddha's Sutras (lessons)
and then voted on final versions. These versions were then committed to memory
by other monks and translated into the many languages of the Indian plains.
- Buddhism remained an oral tradition for more than 200 years after the Buddha's
- Ashoka erected thousands of rock pillars, bearing the words of the Buddha.
He also sent missionaries all over India and as far as Egypt, Palestine, and
Greece to spread the message of Buddhism.
- Sutras are Buddhist scriptures, often attributed to the Buddha himself.
- Students' lists should include facts that have been mentioned in the chapter
or on the Web site. Students should be imaginative in identifying types of
supporting evidence that a historian might seek.
Go To Student Web Activity